The More Information a Recruitment Firm Has, The More Help We Can Provide to Candidates in Searching for Jobs

I’m excited to feature our first interview with a recruitment firm this week.  Sue Hill, Director, and Donald Lickley, Consultant, from Sue Hill Recruitment (@suehillrec) were kind enough to complete the survey AND answer a few of my questions about recruitment firms.  Sue Hill Recruitment is:

a specialist employment agency to the UK information sector, and market research, insight and analysis. We deliver a friendly, people driven and professional service to both employers and jobseekers.

Questions about recruitment firms:

Can you give us a brief run-down of how a recruitment firm works?

In brief a client has a work requirement, we negotiate terms of business, then go out to look for suitable candidates to meet that requirement. Sometimes this will be done with our existing candidate database, sometimes we bring in new candidates via public advertisements.  If we are successful in making a placement with the client, i.e. once an appointment is made and the candidate starts work, only then does the recruitment agency receive a fee.

What types of vacancies are you most frequently placing candidates in?  In what types of organizations?

Currently the UK HE [Higher Education] and commercial sectors are actively recruiting with a fair representation from trade bodies and charities, and there are some interesting special projects in all areas. To our great pleasure, there is a noticeable increase in jobs requiring specific technical skills and a professional body of knowledge as opposed to junior entry level work.

What should candidates do differently when applying to a recruitment firm?  Is there anything they should be sure to include with you that they wouldn’t tell a direct-hire job, etc.?

Candidates should be absolutely frank and open with us, because the more information a recruitment firm has, the more help we can provide to candidates in searching for jobs. All information is treated in confidence and only disseminated with agreement.

Are there particular qualities or experiences that will give a candidate an edge in being considered for positions you are trying to fill?

A realistic attitude to the employment market.

An understanding of the constraints that may exist between the recruitment agency, the client’s HR department and the final decision makers

Above all, the ability to encapsulate and market the appropriate skills to the appropriate vacancies.

Once an initial placement has been made, what should a candidate do to keep on good terms with your agency (in order to ensure future placements)?

Keep in touch. Remember we are here to help with whatever arises. We always appreciate constructive feedback of the experience.

Is there anything else you’d like my readers to know about recruitment agencies or Sue Hill?

It is important to understand that the true client of the recruitment agency is the hiring organisation. However a good agency  – and we would like to think Sue Hill Recruitment (SHR) fits this category – works hard with candidates to ensure they have the right tools and attitude throughout the recruitment process.  We are fortunate that people tend to remain within the information sector for the long haul, and thus have the opportunity to harvest our knowledge throughout their careers. As the SHR team is proactive in their own CPD [Career Professional Development], they also encounter future clients and jobseekers at a variety of events and are always available to offer advice and guidance.

We actively use social media to engage in and discuss professional issues from all angles  – follow our blog at View From the Hill and our LinkedIn Group, which is heading swiftly towards its 1,000th member.

Questions from the survey:

What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

Clarity of focus, positivity and responsiveness – both in responding in a timely manner to job postings, but also by engaging in useful dialogue about how to market themselves.

Do you have any instant deal breakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?

Evidence that you have done your homework in reading the job specification and researching the hiring organisation. Spelling and grammar.

What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?

“Good communication skills” written by people who can’t string a sentence together.

Job processes given priority over results – i.e. dull and boring bits given priority with key features hidden almost out of sight, amongst the verbiage. Ill-considered copying and pasting from past job applications.

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

Sometimes the very obvious top skills or abilities are omitted.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√  Two is ok, but no more

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ Other: Not important so long as we can read it, but otherwise, avoid fancy formatting which may not be readable on another PC.

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ Other: Yes, if they’ve got something genuine to say.

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

√  As an attachment only

What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?

Arrive on time, look us in the eye, answer the questions asked, keep the smile on your face.

What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?

Giving a stock standard answer to a question that wasn’t asked.

How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?

From the UK recruitment agency point of view, it has changed dramatically as employment legislation has impacted heavily on the whole process. However we believe it is mostly for the good. It does all take longer now and thus patience is needed!

Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?

Recruitment agencies are not your enemies, they are your allies and can often provide you with that extra something that gets you the job.

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Filed under Original Survey, Other Organization or Library Type, Recruiter Spotlight

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